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Old 25-01-2012, 15:22   #1
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Rudder Post Packing Nut

I thought I might replace the packing in my rudder post but am not quite sure about this fitting. Is it just 1 nut with 2 hex facings? It is an Island Packet 31. Which direction would loosen to remove the packing? The 2 smaller stainless bolts hold the bearing tube onto the bottom of the hull. I couldn't find much info on the IP websites. Any help much appreciated.
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Old 25-01-2012, 15:30   #2
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Re: Rudder Post Packing Nut

One of the nuts is the actual packing nut. The other is a jamb nut. Better hit it with some penetrating oil before you make the attempt. Mine looked exactly that and it took a week of penetrating oil to get it loose. A 50/50 mix of acetone and ATF (Automatic Transmission Fluid) works as well or better than the commercial products.
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Old 25-01-2012, 15:34   #3
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Re: Rudder Post Packing Nut

It looks like the bottom nut is a lock (jamb) nut.
Looks a lot like this one only you have bronze.
Packing Gland Brass 25mm TRS| MeteorElectrical.com
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Old 26-01-2012, 10:34   #4
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Re: Rudder Post Packing Nut

Mine is pretty much the same - from Buck Algonquin. You might get lucky and it's easy to turn.
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Old 26-01-2012, 10:55   #5
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Re: Rudder Post Packing Nut

I would wire brush the threads and apply some lube before backing off on the lock nut. Bronze will often come loose even if it looks like that. Good luck!
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Old 26-01-2012, 11:09   #6
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Re: Rudder Post Packing Nut

Looks just like the one on my shaft. It was difficult to get it loose the first time. I hit it with penetrating oil and tapped the flats of the nuts with a hammer for a couple of days. Then got these big 21/16" and 2 1/8" combo wrenches and loosened it up. Since then I haven't needed the leverage of the big wrenches.

+1 for cleaning the threads.
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Old 26-01-2012, 14:58   #7
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Re: Rudder Post Packing Nut

Thanks to all. I have been spraying it with PB Blaster for a couple days. I do have some 18" pipe wrenches and lots of other tools. The worst part is the access, which is through the port lazarette in the cockpit, and after disconnecting the scupper drain hoses for better access, the leverage I can exert while lying on my side with one arm and reaching over a 1/2 bulkhead is not great. I may have to "rube goldberg" up a jack system to exert reasonable force. Much appreciated everyone.
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Old 26-01-2012, 17:02   #8
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Re: Rudder Post Packing Nut

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Originally Posted by Seaduction View Post
Thanks to all. I have been spraying it with PB Blaster for a couple days. I do have some 18" pipe wrenches and lots of other tools. The worst part is the access, which is through the port lazarette in the cockpit, and after disconnecting the scupper drain hoses for better access, the leverage I can exert while lying on my side with one arm and reaching over a 1/2 bulkhead is not great. I may have to "rube goldberg" up a jack system to exert reasonable force. Much appreciated everyone.
Apply heat instead. I like to use a MAP gas torch. Heat the nut you are trying to loosen only. I usually apply heat until spit sizzles on bronze and no more. It'll usually break out instantly when hot. Be careful torching something full of penetrating oil, obviously.
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Old 26-01-2012, 17:14   #9
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Re: Rudder Post Packing Nut

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Apply heat instead. I like to use a MAP gas torch. Heat the nut you are trying to loosen only. I usually apply heat until spit sizzles on bronze and no more. It'll usually break out instantly when hot. Be careful torching something full of penetrating oil, obviously.
Minaret is heat your first attempt when loosening all metals or just on bronze. I usually go with penetrating oil first on all metals and save heat for last. Wondering if I should do it the other way.
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Old 26-01-2012, 18:31   #10
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Re: Rudder Post Packing Nut

I’d spray Ospho on it first, rinse then wire brush the threads, then penetrating oil (PB if fine)
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Old 26-01-2012, 19:39   #11
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Re: Rudder Post Packing Nut

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Minaret is heat your first attempt when loosening all metals or just on bronze. I usually go with penetrating oil first on all metals and save heat for last. Wondering if I should do it the other way.
I like Aerokroil for a few hours followed by a torch. I don't usually have time to waste in a professional setting. In a pinch going straight to heat will get it done just about every time, but I feel some kroil makes it less likely you will do damage to something in the process. Heat works for all metals, but bronze heats up faster. When I torch something I kroiled a few hours before I get flare ups from the oil but I'm used to it and don't feel its dangerous as long as you have ventilation. It's not much. The heat it till spit sizzles is a good rule of thumb. If spit jumps off and won't stay on the surface you are overheating. Remember to heat the part you are trying to make expand and hence loosen, ie the female part, ie the nut not the bolt.
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Old 26-01-2012, 20:06   #12
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Re: Rudder Post Packing Nut

In reviewing the post I see that there are some good and proven methods about removing the parts.

I also see some other issues...

Do you see the slight pitting and 'rust' staining on the rudder shaft? That is most likely a result of crevice or oxygen corrosion and I would recommend removing the rudder so the entire rudder shaft can be examined for pitting. Can be very serious. Pits in stainless steel can be difficult to inspect and sometimes look like just light pitting and one might think, no big deal. I have inspected thousands of rudder shafts and almost every time I have seen similar pitting, more and deeper pitting is involved. When we cut (cross-section) stainless steel at the pits we often find that the pits lead to other pitting and holes that best can explained as worm holes the way they take off inside and follow grain structure of the metal.

There also appears to be another problem as well - the blue color you see in the photos is not the 'normal' patina that bronze develops. Normal patina is green. The blue or Turquoise is an indicator of electrical corrosion of some sort (stray or galvanic). Best to clean the entire fitting and have it inspected for corrosion. It's most likely OK but it warrants a look from a surveyor or an experienced shipwright or boatyard. An answer of "they all look like that" doesn't cut it. Since the rudder log is bonded, this could be a conduit for electricity or lack of zincs, or...lots of different scenarios so you should at least have the bonding system tested. If you do get the bonding system inspected / tested make sure you get someone that will test to at least the ABYC (American Boat and Yacht Council) standards.

So it looks like there are a few types of corrosion happening here. Post more photos or PM me, happy to help if I can. Good luck to you.
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Old 02-02-2012, 09:57   #13
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Re: Rudder Post Packing Nut

Hi:
Your stuffing box looks like the one on our Peterson 44. We live aboard and cruise a lot, so it has to be kept free and there has to be room to tighten it. I repacked the stuffing last week, using teflon instead of graphite because Nigel Calder says graphite can cause electrolytic damage.

When loosening, remember, bottom nut is lock not and must be turned clockwise to move it down the threads and away from the packing gland. I use PB Blaster and a home-made wrench. When that isn't enough, I use the old mechanics trick of placing a cold chisel at an angle that is just enough to bight the nut, but a shallow enough angle to apply force approximately in the direction of rotation: again, clockwise.
Good luck.
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